In Praise of Flannellgrams (sp?)


This week’s cover article from Christianity is about the infantization of American Evangelicalism. [fair warning: though reading the mag,I have not read that particular article yet. So please forgive any perceived slights or plagarisms] I thought of this article as I watched some last minute set up for this week’s VBS at our church. Standing there greeting our members I found myself incredibly grateful for all the brave souls who sought to pass on the teaching they had themselves been given.
Now we have fancy multi-media presentations and an ever evolving market geared to providing ever more professional services. In my day we had flannelgraphs or was it grams. For those of you younger than the google machine, these badly produced and flimsy paper pictures which had something on their backs which would stick to a felt covered posterboard. Go to any Christian site run people in their 30’s or 40’s and can get to bemoan the tackiness and silliness of this phenomonon.
Yet as tacky as they might have been, these felt boards represented the gateway drug of my youth. These clumsy figures introduced to the story (stories) of scripture. Through these things countless people invested the stories (story) of scripture with meaning and purpose and transferred all that into my life and my story (stories).
As I have grown older (if not wiser) that investment has paid dividends. What mattered was not the felt,nor would an investment in fancy technology. What mattered was the content imparted, the stories themselves. When I look at the modern church the style if worship, the kind of preaching, the use of social media, or the production if soectacles does not concern me. The content (or worldy content or many times, unfortunately, the lack of it) is what concerns. When we give up telling the story (stories) of scripture. When we seek comfort and provide feel-good pick me ups devoid of real content, this is when we are truly and well endangered.
If we need to go back to felt boards, fine. If we need to invest in better tech, all the better. But regardless let us continue to boldy pass on the stories that were giveb to us; and let continue allowing each new generation to make their story HiStory.

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